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a slave art thou, to hack thy sword as thou hast done, and then say, it was in fight! What trick, what device, what starting-hole, canst thou now find out, to hide thee from this open and apparent shame?
Poins. Come, let's hear, Jack: what trick hast thou now?
Fal. By the Lord, I knew ye, as well as he that made ye. Why, hear ye, my masters: was it for me to kill the heir apparent? Should I turn upon the true prince? Why, thou knowest, I am as valiant as Hercules; but beware instinct: the lion will not touch the true prince. Instinct is a great matter, I was a coward on instinct. I shall think the better of myself and thee, during my life; I, for a valiant lion, and thou for a true prince. But, by the Lord, lads, I am glad you have the money. - Hostess, clap to the doors: watch to-night, pray to-morrow. Gallants, lads, boys, hearts of gold, all the titles of good fellowship come to you! What! shall we be merry? shall we have a play extempore?
and the argument shall be, thy running
Fal. Ah! no more of that, Hal, an thou lovest me.
P. Hen. How now, my lady the hostess! what say'st thou to me?
Host. Marry, my lord, there is a nobleman of the court at door would speak with you: he says, he comes from your father. P. Hen. Give him as much as will make him a royal man, and send him back again to my mother.
Fal. What manner of man is he?
Host. An old man.
Fal. What doth gravity out of his bed at midnight? — Shall
I give him his answer?
P. Hen. Pr'ythee, do, Jack.
Fal. 'Faith, and I'll send him packing.
[Exit. so did
P. Hen. Now, Sirs; by'r lady, you fought fair; you, Peto; - so did you, Bardolph: you are lions too, you ran away upon instinct, you will not touch the true prince, no; - fie!
Bard. 'Faith, I ran when I saw others run.
P. Hen. 'Faith, tell me now in earnest: how came Falstaff's sword so hacked?
Peto. Why, he hacked it with his dagger, and said, he would swear truth out of England, but he would make you believe it was done in fight; and persuaded us to do the like.
Bard. Yea, and to tickle our noses with spear grass, to make them bleed; and then to beslubber our garments with it, and to swear it was the blood of true men. I did that I did not this seven year before; I blushed to hear his monstrous devices.
P. Hen. O villain! thou stolest a cup of sack eighteen years ago, and wert taken with the manner, and ever since thou hast blushed extempore. Thou hadst fire and sword on thy side, and yet thou ran'st away: what instinct hadst thou for it?
Bard. My lord, do you see these meteors? do you behold these exhalations?
P. Hen. I do.
Bard. What think you they portend?
P. Hen. Hot livers and cold purses.
Here comes lean Jack; here comes bare-bone. How now, my sweet creature of bombast! How long is 't ago, Jack, since thou sawest thine own knee?
Fal. My own knee? when I was about thy years, Hal, I was not an eagle's talon in the waist; I could have crept into any alderman's thumb-ring: a plague of sighing and grief! it blows a man up like a bladder. There's villainous news abroad: here was Sir John Bracy from your father: you must to the court in the morning. That same mad fellow of the north, Percy; and he of Wales, that gave Amaimon the bastinado, and made Lucifer cuckold, and swore the devil his true liegeman upon the cross of a Welsh hook, what, a plague, call you him?
Poins. 0! Glendower.
Fal. Owen, Owen; the same; - and his son-in-law, Mor
timer; an old Northumberland; and that sprightly Scot of Scots, Douglas, that runs o' horseback up a hill perpendicular.
P. Hen. He that rides at high speed, and with his pistol kills a sparrow flying.
Fal. You have hit it.
P. Hen. So did he never the sparrow.
Fal. Well, that rascal hath good mettle in him; he will
P. Hen. Why, what a rascal art thou, then, to praise him so for running?
Fal. O'horseback, ye cuckoo! but, afoot, he will not budge a foot.
P. Hen. Yes, Jack, upon instinct.
Fal. I grant ye, upon instinct. Well, he is there too, and one Mordake, and a thousand blue-caps more. Worcester is stolen away to-night; thy father's beard is turned white with the news: you may buy land now as cheap as stinking mackarel.
P. Hen. Why then, it is like, if there come a hot June, and this civil buffeting hold, we shall buy maidenheads as they buy hob-nails, by the hundreds.
Fal. By the mass, lad, thou sayest true; it is like, we shall have good trading that way. But, tell me, Hal, art thou not horribly afeard? thou being heir apparent, could the world pick thee out three such enemies again, as that fiend Douglas, that spirit Percy, and that devil Glendower? Art thou not horribly afraid? doth not thy blood thrill at it?
P. Hen. Not a whit, i' faith: I lack some of thy instinct. Fal. Well, thou wilt be horribly chid to-morrow, when thou comest to thy father: if thou love me, practise an answer.
P. Hen. Do thou stand for my father, and examine me upon the particulars of my life.
Fal. Shall I? content.
This chair shall be my state, this
dagger my sceptre, and this cushion my crown.
P. Hen. Thy state is taken for a joint-stool, thy golden sceptre for a leaden dagger, and thy precious rich crown for a pitiful bald crown!
Fal. Well, an the fire of grace be not quite out of thee, now
shalt thou be moved.
Give me a cup of sack, to make mine eyes
look red, that it may be thought I have wept; for I must speak in passion, and I will do it in king Cambyses' vein.
P. Hen. Well, here is my leg.
Stand aside, nobility.
Host. O, Jesu! This is excellent sport, i' faith.
Fal. Weep not, sweet queen, for trickling tears are vain.
For tears do stop the flood-gates of her eyes.
Host. O, Jesu! he doth it as like one of these harlotry players as ever I see.
Fal. Peace, good pint-pot! peace, good tickle-brain! Harry, I do not only marvel where thou spendest thy time, but also how thou art accompanied: for though the camomile, the more it is trodden on, the faster it grows, so youth, the more it is wasted, the sooner it wears. That thou art my son, I have partly thy mother's word, partly my own opinion; but chiefly, a villainous trick of thine eye, and a foolish hanging of thy nether lip, that doth warrant me. If, then, thou be son to me, lies the point why, being son to me, art thou so pointed at? Shall the blessed sun of heaven prove a micher, and eat blackberries? a question not to be asked. Shall the son of England prove a thief, and take purses? a question to be asked. There is a thing, Harry, which thou hast often heard of, and it is known to many in our land by the name of pitch: this pitch, as ancient writers do report, doth defile: so doth the company thou keepest; for, Harry, now I do not speak to thee in drink, but in tears; not in pleasure, but in passion; not in words only, but in woes also. And yet there is a virtuous man, whom I have often noted in thy company, but I know not his name.
P. Hen. What manner of man, an it like your majesty?
Fal. A goodly portly man, i' faith, and a corpulent; of a cheerful look, a pleasing eye, and a most noble carriage; and, as I think, his age some fifty, or, by'r lady, inclining to threescore, and now I remember me, his name is Falstaff: if that man should be lewdly given, he deceiveth me; for, Harry, I see virtue in his
looks. If then the tree may be known by the fruit, as the fruit by the tree, then peremptorily I speak it, there is virtue in that Falstaff: him keep with, the rest banish. And tell me, now, thou naughty varlet, tell me, where hast thou been this month?
P. Hen. Dost thou speak like a king? Do thou stand for me, and I'll play my father.
Fal. Depose me? if thou dost it half so gravely, so majestically, both in word and matter, hang me up by the heels for a rabbit-sucker, or a poulter's hare.
P. Hen. Well, here I am set.
Fal. And here I stand. - Judge, my masters.
P. Hen. The complaints I hear of thee are grievous.
thee for a young prince, i' faith.
- nay, I'll tickle P. Hen. Swearest thou, ungracious boy? henceforth ne'er look on me. Thou art violently carried away from grace: there is a devil haunts thee, in the likeness of a fat old man: a tun of man is thy companion. Why dost thou converse with that trunk of humours, that bolting-hutch of beastliness, that swoln parcel of dropsies, that huge bombard of sack, that stuffed cloak-bag of guts, that roasted Manningtree-ox with the pudding in his belly, that reverend vice, that grey iniquity, that father ruffian, that vanity in years? Wherein is he good, but to taste sack and drink it? wherein neat and cleanly, but to carve a capon and eat it? wherein cunning, but in craft? wherein crafty, but in villainy? wherein villainous, but in all things? wherein worthy, but in nothing?
Fal. I would your grace would take me with you: whom means your grace?
P. Hen. That villainous abominable misleader of youth, Fal staff, that old white-bearded Satan.
Fal. My lord, the man I know.
Fal. But to say, I know more harm in him than in myself, were to say more than I know. That he is old, the more the pity,